tv Condoleezza Rice Jim Mattis Others Reflect on 911 Attacks CSPAN September 10, 2021 1:00pm-2:18pm EDT
after the first plane hit, we were discussing it. this is like a blue sky day. no american airlines pilot is going to have that problem with that building in the middle of the city. the second one hit and we knew it was obviously a terrorist attack. i saw the second plane hit. i did not see the first one on tv. we were gathered around this little tv, this maintenance area with a small crew of mechanics. we just kind of -- the planes on the ground stayed there for like the next five or six days as all the airspace was closed down. we would go and check the oil on them. yeah, did some paperwork on them. >> will be leaving this recorded program here and you can finish
watching it at6 www.c-span.org. we have reflections on the september 11 terrorist attacks, live coverage on c-span. >> today, john is a fellow at the hoover institution. karen hughes on september 11, she was serving as white house director of medications and counselor to president bush. a few years later, she would become under secretary of state for public display must see and ears and ambassador hughes serves as vice chair. the day come on the morning of september 11, 2001, president bush awoke in sarasota, florida where he would attend an education event at a local elementary school. in washington and new york, americans went to work under cloudless skies, flawless early autumn day.
8:46 a.m. -- a commercial aircraft plowed into the north tower of the world trade center. that was 9:00 a.m. and the port authority orders the world trade center evacuated. 9:03 a.m., the second commercial aircraft crashes into the south tower. 9:37 a.m., a third plane crashes into the pentagon. 9:59 a.m., the south tower of the world trade center collapses. 10:03 a.m., a fourth plane crashes, this one near shanksville, pennsylvania. it would later emerge that passengers had recaptured the plane from the terrorist who had hijacked it, intentionally forcing the plane down in an empty field. 1020 8 a.m., the north tower collapses. over 2000 people either died or sustained interest trees -- injuries from which they would soon die in less than two hours on a beautiful autumn morning. where were you?
condi rice, where were you? how did you first learned of the attack? and i think this is something we all felt but how did you process the information? didn't seem at first on real to you? >> it was a day that none of us will ever forget. it started like any other day. i was supposed to give a speech later in the day about national defense. i had not traveled with president bush. it was there pre-9/11 thinking that he was only to mystic trip so i didn't travel with him and neither did my deputy steve hadley. i was at my desk in my young assistant who was an army officer, yelled that a plane has hit the world trade center. i thought that's a strange accident. i said was a private plane? he said it was a commercial airliner. i got on the phone with president bush and he was at
this children's event in florida , and education event, and he also said that was a strange accident. but within a few minutes if you go through the timeline commits it's kind of chilling to realize how late things evolved. i went downstairs to have my normal staff meeting within a few minutes, someone handed me a note and set a second plane had hit the world trade center and now we knew it was a terrorist attack. i then went into the situation room to try to reach the national security. colin powell was at an event in peru and he was trying to get back. >> he was the secretary of defense? i'm sorry, secretary of state. >> they said that george tenant, the cia director had gone to a bunker and they couldn't reach secretary rumsfeld. his phone was ringing. >> he was the secretary of defense. >> we look behind us in the tent -- and the plane had hit the
pentagon and the secret service said you have to get to a bunker. planes are flying into buildings all over washington, d.c. and i don't remember how i felt. i just remember being levitated toward the bunker, stopping to call my relatives. i had to let them know i was all right. i talked one more time to the president and i did something i had never done before and would never do again. when he said i'm coming back, i raise my voice to the present of the united states and i said you cannot come back here, it's not safe. the united states is under attack. >> karen? where were you and how to this information reach you? >> i had never been asked that direct question before. i was actually in the shower in my home in washington. september 10 is my wedding anniversary. i made a last-minute decision not to travel to florida with president bush even though i was scheduled to go because i didn't
want my husband to think my important job is more important than he was. i had never missed a wedding anniversary with him so i stayed in washington and had dinner with him. in the next morning because it was learned i stayed in secretary and he asked me to attend a habitat for humanity meeting with him. president bush did not allow bluejeans in the left-wing so i took the opportunity to sleep in and went to a staff meeting at the west wing. i was in the shower when my chief of staff call from the white house and told my husband and asked for me and my husband said she was in the shower. he said we need help because a plane hit the world trade center. i am a former reporter and my husband learned not to take messages for me. he literally walked into the shower and handed me the phone. she told me plane hit the world trade center and like most people come i thought small plane, it must've been a
horrible heart attack or accident. then i turned on the television and saw that second plane hit the second tower. i remember falling to my knees and saying a prayer for the people in the building. it never occurred to me that there were passengers on the airplane. i called immediately after that my deputy who was with the president in florida and i said dan, a second plane hit the second tower and he didn't know. i remember the shock in his voice and he said what kind of plane. i said i don't know, a big plane like a passenger plane but it never occurred to me that it actually was a passenger plane. >> john taylor, listening to this so far, if you watch too much television as i've done in my life, you get the feeling that the white house, everybody works at the white house is in tune moment by
moment with events. it's human beings. condi is busy with other matters, what's happening, karen hughes counselor to the president, you were one of the dozen most important people in the administration and you were in the shower. the human aspect of this is what i find so striking. john, where were you? >> i was in tokyo on a mission the president was established that we would have a better working relationship with our allies in japan stop it was a shock, we went to the control room and of bunch of us and we looked in the world trade center started coming down. i was as close as i could be to the screen and i turned around and looked at these people's faces. they were in complete shock stuff you can imagine us all
watching this together at the time, faces of horror. we immediately tried to find a way to get back to america. we got on a c-17 and within a matter of hours, we were on her way back. we had an air refueling over alaska so we did not stop we got to washington. all never forget the faces on the crew of the tanker. they give us more fuel. the radar screen had no planes, there was nothing. it was just amazing. i also remember this was an experience of dealing with the military that i had never -- i had a long time ago but i never remembered. it was the beginning for me and the united states of working together of our government to try to get things to happen. this combination of economics and military diplomacy was just
beginning that's what i saw on the plane. when we got back to washington, we had many other things to talk about. >> we will come to that. was there information coming into you on the plane? the plane remained in radio contact? >> completely in contact. the main thing is you didn't see any other planes on radar which was intense. the. commercial planes were not flying >> on that morning the united states suffered the first attack on the continental united states since the war of 1812. where were you? how did you find out? and i'm interested, i have the feeling you may have been able to process the information. you are trained for this but
what was it like for you that morning? >> i was in california at camp pendleton so this was happening around 6:00 a.m. out there will step i did my five mile run and showered up and drove into work at 6:15 a.m. when i heard 9:15 a.m. east coast time that a cessna had flown in to the world trade center. i had just come out of about five years steady duty can washington, d.c. as the executive secretary of the department of defense. immediately, i knew it was a terrorist attack there is no doubt in my mind. we knew they were coming and we couldn't figure out how or when but that something big was coming. i knew immediately that we had been hit, even before the second plane hit and before i knew it was an airliner.
it was happening when i first heard it was a cessna. i said thank god it's not something figure. the thing that really struck me and i've talked to many military officers and intelligence officers since as well that we failed. the first time we had been attacked on her homeland. the japanese had shelled the oregon coast from a submarine and that was a small thing but this was the first time like it was a sense of absolute failure. this is what we were designed to prevent. it created a very grim mindset for those of us who were going after them. they were going to pay and they were going to learn that they could not scare us, these maniacs. and they were going to pay to such a degree that they would be unable to hit us again. we knew there were other attacks in the offing or we assume the worst so we were on our way in
-- in less than a month later, i was in egypt leading an exercise there in egypt to show the americans were in the middle east. i went to bahrain and we plan -- we planned we started the planning to go into bahrain. >> from first learning about the event to first decisions, all four of you were in positions of responsibility. you had to decide what to do. you said in a recent documentary that when i'm asked about some of the things we did with speed, i want to say what you -- what would you have done? we didn't have time for a lot of consultation. you are national security advisor, one of the central opponents of that job is to be
the action control, you are coordinating intelligence in a sense, diplomacy and you are directly in touch with the chief executive of the nation. who, incidentally is put aboard air force one which is scrambled up and spent the day, much of the day in the air being protected by fighters touches down for a moment in louisiana, touches down again in nebraska before the situation becomes clear enough that the president is able to return to washington. maybe i could ask about that to begin with. the man to whom you report, the men was at the head of the executive branch of the united states government is in the air, out of touch, away from the command center, the white house itself and how did you begin to pull together the chain of command? >> i would highlight free
decisions, two that were that morning and one leader on when the president returned as being really pivotal. the first one was the vice president was already in the bunker when i arrived. the transportation secretary was on a yellow pad trying to track aircraft. we had to get every plane out of the sky. a lot of the work -- >> you say the bunker, there is a secure facility close to the white house? >> yes, that's correct. i have actually toured it as national security advisor. i never thought i would actually be there. here we were, they are trying to get planes landed and they are talking to the canadians and the mexicans and others, turn the plane around. he is very central to making
sure that every plane which had now become a potential missile was out of the sky. one of the really first hard choices and the president was involved, i heard the vice president asked the president, the air force wants authority to shoot down any plane that is not identifying itself properly. first, there were lawyers trying to figure out if he had the authority to give such an order. he just gave the order and said yes and for an awful few minutes when the plane went down in pennsylvania, we thought we had shut it down step the hobson's choice of the president of the united states having to decide to potentially take any civilian aircraft is what first sticks in my mind is a critical decision. i remember the vice president sank to the pentagon that you must know whether you encountered a civilian aircraft and they said we cannot confirm. the awfulness of that decision i will always remember.
there were others. i said i have to get in touch with president putin. jim will know that there will be a spiral of alert where the russians didn't go up and we go up and they go up and before you know it, we are at more levels of mobilization. president putin was trying to reach president bush. i said mr. president, he is trying to get to a secure location and our forces are going up on alert. president putin said errors are coming down and i knew right then that the cold war is really over. the other big decision we took was to get a cable out to every post in the world as quickly as we could. colin powell was going about our business. that message said the united states of america has not and decapitated step we couldn't
talk. the president was getting to a safe location. we were in a bunker. the pictures were awful. you want your friends and your foes to know you were functioning step that was another very important decision and maybe later, i will talk about the ones that gives the phrase that will always be associate with bush, if you harbor a terrorist, you are, we will treat you as a terrorist. that's a decision that came later in the day. >> in a recent documentary this is describing a you conference with the president, i believe he was in nebraska at this point. president bush tactically came through the television screen. a couple of questions -- describe what you meant for that -- by that and also, i am a former speechwriter.
you and he made a decision that he would address the nation. that night stuff he spoke for 4.5 minutes and here is the first sentence -- today are fellow citizens, or way of life and our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist attacks. that speech had to be composed quickly and it had to reassure the nation, it had to show the chief executive in control of the situation and it did all those things. how did that speech come about? >> it was chaotic. unlike secretary rice, i had never seen the bunker. the vice president sent a military driver to pick me up and bring me back to downtown washington because it was shut down. as we drove back into d.c., i could see the pentagon.
i remember saying to the military driver that it was very somber. i just remember the scene in downtown washington there was nobody on the streets. i would see some military people with guns. it was a very chilling scene and it struck me like a torn capital after a coup. i thought this is the home of freedom and democracy and it looked like it was a very chilling image. they dropped me off at the east side of the white house. i had never been through that door before and no one was there i remember thinking this is not a day to sneak up on anyone so i yelled hello. i'm here to see the vice president. a couple of agents came running and took me to the bunker. i had never been there. i remember my first decision, i was very conscious of what dr.
rice just said, that i had been home watching on television until i came back to the white house. the scenes of chaos, the staff was told to run from the white house. there was an erroneous report that there was a bomb at the state department stop the state department had been evacuated and the pentagon was hit and smoking. it looked on television from these chaotic scenes as if the united states government was basically absent. when i arrived at the bunker, i saw the scene is calm decision making most of they were grounding the planes, the vice president and dr. rice were on the phone with the president. i felt like it was important that we had to brief the country on how the government was responding. i felt secretary rice should do it but she and the vice president kept insisting that
they wouldn't and that i should do it stop i remember feeling enormous sense of responsibility to convey reassurance and calm and conviction to a very badly shaken nation and i feel that that's the hardest thing i've ever done in my career. they said i couldn't breathe from the white house. maybe five or six agents surrounded me. we returned to the bunker -- >> was that briefing like to reporters? >> yes. >> i'm sure reporters streamed into the building. >> we also made an important decision that was the only time i ever did a briefing during my time at the white house that i did not take questions. . that was very deliberate we knew that the first question would be dishes. new there were a lot of
questions i would not be able to answer in the primary mission was to reassure people that the government was on top of this. they finally let us affect where offices i think -- do you remember -- around 6:00? >> the president came back in around 7:00 so it was just before that. >> you mentioned him coming through the screen. it was the first time that day i had seen him live. i remember his presence just filled the screen. he was so resolute and he said we are at war against terror and from this day forward, this is the priority of our administration. he was in total command. it was so reassuring to hear that. right after that, i talked with him and he said do you think i need to get back there and i
said yes. we talked about the speech. there was a discussion about some people wanted him to declare war that night. and i think some people were disappointed that he didn't. he clearly was in a war mindset. we decided that the primary mission that night was to reassure a badly shaken nation step he did not declare war that night and we felt mission was one of reassurance. it would pay off. secretary rice was in my office and mica medications people, everybody was giving ideas and lines. i didn't know how i pulled together a speech. >> i want to say he agreed that he should not declare war. the one thing i remember asking him was about that phrase that if you harbor a terrorist, we will treat you as a terrorist. i said given that you want to
see about reassurance, do you want to say that tonight? that was the one thing he felt he had to say immediately, that that couldn't wait. that was a policy decision. it was his decision and he said i want you to run this task and i did. i talked to them and i said the president is going to say this and if you object let me know and no one objected. >> i see. john, you have already said you flew back from japan in a c-17 military transport. you would have known long before the plane landed that the markets in new york never opened that day, the first plane hit the north tower in the markets just don't open. what you would not have known yet but you may already have suspect it is when the markets opened after the attack, the
doubt would register the biggest point drop in history. airplanes are out of the sky, markets are rattled you have terrorists who have financed this attack one way or another, and treasury had to figure at him he bonds to sell this week. treasury became central to defense in a matter of hours. how do you sort priorities? what are the decisions made at treasury? >> your question reminds me that you need to be as calm as possible. that is hard. at the same time, america is alive and we had terrible damage on wall street but markets can function. the message was out there but
then we had a lot to do specifically. you mentioned terrorist financing. we are just across the way from the white house. i was in the situation room i thanked condi and karen for all the work. just stopping the terrorist financing was a big deal. i think the support from the rest of the government was good. they said this war on terrorism will before on a variety of rents. different the moors in the past. it was a war that will require different fronts and one area was financial. this is a rallying cry for a lot of people. condi noted there is an inherent turf battle in this area. i think she said john, we need
an action plan. within a matter of hours, we got a good action plan. we wanted to be sure there want turf battles to prevent information so we had a phrase, convey information, don't contain information. i think the idea of stopping the flow of money was key. that's stopping terrorist financing and part of stopping the flow of money from the bad guys but there was also a lot of financial intelligence that came from this network and we emphasized that. we set up a war room and treasury. -- in treasury. >> so treasury became its own source of intel. >> of course. >> got defense intelligence but treasury else's own source of intel on the terrorist? >> of course, we are depending
on the intelligence agencies. i think the coordination of the cooperation of the state and defense department was key. we didn't have enough of that. we had a little poster in treasury and it said we are at war. are you doing all you can? we were trying to work as much as we could. there were many meetings in the situation room and i made the comment about economics. the secretary of state were defense said there goes taylor again, sorry about the economics. it was hard to get it in. the international support was huge. we spent a lot of time on the phone, first with the g7 and then it spread out. i never experienced such cooperation. everybody was our friend. it didn't last as long as i would like but everybody was our friend and that made it possible to do things we couldn't have
done otherwise. hey u.n. security council helped, condi helped. the other thing i am proud of is there was a report of the 9/11 commission that came later and it gave us an a-. i'm sure they missed the important part. i will stop there. >> jim mattis, you went to war. you went to war between vietnam and afghanistan. there have been conflict of course from grenada to the
balkan peninsula. as a professional, what was it like to be fighting on behalf of a nation -- i don't know how to put this -- the nation was roused and angry and righteous and unified. did that make a difference to you as a professional? >> not really. i would just tell you that what happened was many years of naval deployments -- i was and enable service -- navy marine deployment, this was situation normal crisis deployment, routine deployments. there was a conviction best summed up by one of my -- my marine from new york who was muslim. he said this is a perfect war, general they want to die and we
want to kill them. i'm giving you the rough soldier humor that allows them to go forward into the uncertain terrain of the battlefield with a certain amount of conviction. he summed it up i think for a lot of us. international support that john was talking about was immediately felt in the military area as well and the cia military connection that has restarted their has held all the way through to this day. whereas the military relationship of trust and the cia military spirit of collaboration unleashed a very effective early campaign in afghanistan when we were having to do things with man and machine. they were so far in land. dr. rice and the state department team for getting the bases up on the northern flank of afghanistan, this sort of
thing. but really, it was what we do in the most important thing was we had the logistics to do it. we had 11 nations come in without a whole lot of mou's, just show up. we had the norwegians they are and the jordanians and the turks and new zealanders and australia. the germans were there. i had to check that they were on our side this time and they were. we were united. we lost much of that unity of purpose with the attack into iraq year and a half later, two years later. it was exactly what national security advisor gave a one hour class to all new brigadier generals and rear animals that i was in, the advisor was dr. rice and she said we do things with our allies, not to them.
i had never seen a finger 18 inches long as she instructed us on this primary thing. the other point to bring up, for those of us like me who had been dealing with the middle east since 1979, we had no doubt about the maniacs we were up against. they scared our muslim buddies more than anyone else. i've never fought them with muslims alongside me. it reminds us all that in 1980 four, george shultz gave a speech as secretary of state in new york city. it was 17 years before 9/11 and he warned of this very thing that we are going to lose innocent people and we will have to preempt this. for those of us who had been studying this phenomenon that was for us, and effort to keep people from lumping it all into one big mess and identify which
part we had to go under or go after and i bring that up because at times, we have it still had people come into positions in offices who were not aware of all these different recommends. you did not want to unify them with your own efforts. you need to keep them fragmented and work one against the other and frankly, i have slept peacefully among murderers in order to fight for this country against other people that were a to us. back over to you. >> jim said something about allies. one of the most incredible moments was the morning after 9/11 when i went down to my office about 4:00 in the morning stuff our ambassador to nato was on the line, nick burns. he said nato wants to invoke article five, an attack upon one is an attack upon all.
we had always assumed that article five of the so-called washington treaty of 1949, we would always have to invoke it to help europe. if europe had been attacked by the soviet union, an attack upon one is an attack upon all and we would sacrifice washington for london if necessary. here is that moment, the only time in its history that article five was invoked. it was nato to secure us. >> we did not request that. >> we did not request that. nato decided they wanted to do it step i remember nick asking if it's ok. it's something we had never even thought about and i just remember thinking it's good to have friends. >> here's a question i have to ask. i don't want to dwell on it but we are still at the very beginnings of responding to 911. jim just said -- i was struck by
the contrast between you as civilians that the administration had been in office eight months. in some basic way, you were all professionals and karen had been a reporter and john knew everything about economics and condi had been in and out of government. you knew what you were doing with those -- but those specific jobs -- you are still learning a certain amount step we go to jim and jim says in the military we knew this was going to happen, we were trained for it and off we went. an almost technical acceptance of what had taken place. >> we had just been through a presidential campaign and it was a complete shock to me. i had worked in the governor's office. that morning was a complete
shock to me. we had a domestic agenda planned for the fall we are pushing education reform. we had just been through a presidential campaign and it struck me that morning that not once had president bush been asked about al qaeda or osama bin laden. he had been asked every question under the sun i could imagine and not once he was asked -- was he asked about them. >> i would like to underscore that point. i was a professional and i knew about al qaeda and i knew who osama bin laden was and i knew they attacked and 93 and 98 at the embassies. we had to deal with the question of whether we would do something about the attack on the uss cole just before the election. we didn't want to interfere with the current administration we also felt we didn't want to do
something like a pinprick. we knew this was there. what i didn't have the imagination to see was the use of commercial airlines against the twin towers and the pentagon from inside the united states. like every other national security person, my view as an american with two oceans that protected us and peaceful neighbors to the north and south, my view of security was that was something that happened out there. the idea that it would happen in one of our cities and then to her pentagon, that's where the shock was. then we had to fight an entirely different kind of war now. yes, we were professionals. the other point i wanted to emphasize his presidents come in knowing what they want to do stuff in campaigns, they say on day one i will -- and on day one
they won't because they suddenly realize it's more complicated step do you know who the visitor to the white house was on september 8? it was vicente fox of mexico because that was president bush's first foreign policy emphasis, mexico and latin america. >> in this documentary in which you and karen are in, you said and honestly i thought it was a compelling and moving moment, you said by definition, we had failed because the attacks happened. it's been 20 years and i'm not asking for a political but just analytical matter, my mind goes to donald rumsfeld famous
formulation about your real problem is unknown unknowns. that is to say, was there a systemic failure that you identified soon or you have identified with the benefit of two decades of mulling it over and reading and writing about it? or is it just the nature of history that the unexpected can happen no matter how thoroughly prepared a nation is? how do you deal with that basic question? >> every incident like this in history, if you look back, you could have seen it coming. the problem is that either your imagination or the way were organized prevents seeing it coming. in our case, it was the way we were organized. we know for instance that despite the fact of what we were
experiencing in the middle east, the fact that we knew these terrorists existed, the 93 bombing had happened in new york before. despite that, we had intelligence organized so that the cia did what was warranted and the fbi did what was domestic. it turns out that scene between domestic intelligence and foreign intelligence was one of the biggest problems. if the fbi and the cia had talked on september 8, 2001 the way they would talk today, the fbi probably would have told the cia that there was this guy who was taking flight lessons in arizona and only wanted to know how to go one way. if they had been talking, somebody would have known that on september 8, one of the
hijackers had made a phone call from san diego to afghanistan, if anybody had known that another hijacker was in san diego, spotlights would've gone off because was a known terrorist. we were not organized in a way to make that connection between the soil of the united states and what happened outside the country for a very good reason. there were no attacks on our territory for 100 years. more importantly because we had civil liberties. about the sharing of foreign intelligence and domestic intelligence and what that meant. i think this really was a systemic failure in that sense. if you ask me what are we left with now, we are left with a better awareness that there is no such thing as foreign intelligence and domestic intelligence, they have to be married step yes, i think that
and i feel great remorse because as jim said, even when the military said we failed, i felt we too had failed. we knew -- we did everything we knew how to do but by definition, we hadn't done enough. >> i'm thinking we have been in the moment and on that day 20 years ago. let's come to today. you have all been describing and i've been reading up to prepare for this, a government that functioned come i think this is fair to say, with just remarkable determination and a lot of straightforward competence on the civilian side, people overcame their sense of shock, they work through the numbness and they did what they had to do. on the military side we are trained for this and we knew it was coming, off we go. you may disagree with my premise
but i think it's also fair to say that as we mark this 20th anniversary, a lot of americans feel a certain sense of loss. what happened to the unity, the competence? the new york times this week -- he is talking about the memorial on the side of the world trade center in new york, quote water cascading into one void in trickling out of sight into another has never felt more fitting --". let me start with the lessons learned, what has happened in these last two decades? we began airstrikes in afghanistan and a new government of afghanistan takes office. time elapsed from the first airstrikes between new government.
we remain in afghanistan another two decades and then this past summer we withdraw. correct me again, what i would regard as shocking disarray but the new york times just this week said we find ourselves commemorating the first jihadist victory over america after delivery the second great jihadist victory over america in 2021. jim, what happens -- what has happened between the sharp, quick victory and where we are today? >> you have to look at the two fundamental elements of radical jihad violence. the shia side is supported by iran. they declared war in 1983.
the al qaeda sunni side with isis and all of those. they are fighting a long war. war is a fundamentally unpredictable phenomenon. you cannot predict where it will go and like any crisis, war is always a crisis, even if you start managing it as if it's an everyday operation. it remains unpredictable when you have a race between time and dollars. as the new knowledge comes in, you have to act fast. what happened was is we failed to create a strategy that unity together at its primary strike, that unity we saw from our allies and even from the most unlikely people. russia is the first foreign country to put up a memorial to those killed on 911.
a single teardrop that's about 20 feet tall. i bring this up because the cia and the u.s. military are two parts of our government organized for competition. that's all they deal with. they are thinking about the world competing. for us, we could go forward and say this is what we do. the larger issue of an integrated national strategy is one that i would say, if you were going to have a limited war , then you make clear the limited political and game. you do not put true caps on. i was under a true cap -- troop cap. they had already been imposed on me. a gold star mother put it to me
once with her husband and her daughter talking about the sun they had lost and she said if the generals asked for 20,000 and you have a million troops, why didn't you send 40,000? this is a gold star mother in pain who has put her son on the altar of freedom and lost him. how do you answer someone that we would respond instead of limiting and finding our war range for the long-term so that we know what we want a better piece to look like. we limited our military means. we raised an entire generation of soldiers now who think it's normal to fight with no reserve in theater because they are under -- it's right down sometimes to how many dozen troops we can have on a certain operation imposed politically. what happens then is because you don't get the strategy right, we had the strategy right going in. i have no doubt whatsoever.
but then we are going to sustain the effort, strategy is an appetite suppressant. he keeps you from going too far in certain things. you want to put in all the troops you need plus the reserves and as quickly as you can come military side. at some point, there is a transition were treasury guys and stay people are doing more than you are doing, education is doing more than you are doing in the military maintains the security. i think it was that failure to think strategically in the longer run we to bring up iraq. i was thrown out of afghanistan in march, the airplane takes me back to headquarters and they tell me an airplane is waiting and i have to go back to california get the first marine division ready to invade iraq. i said why? the admiral says they think iraq
had something to do with 9/11 and that got weapons of mass destruction. i said they can't move without our bombers bombing them. they said brigadier general, go back and get the division ready to go to war. already, we were shipping special forces, or marines over to another fight. it hit me personally. i stopped thinking, frankly, about afghanistan. after all, we had one. war is unpredictable and for an unlimited work, we wanted a limited war but we didn't define the limits politically, we only to find them militarily. now the table is set for very bad outcome against an enemy that's been fighting a long war against us since 1983-1995. >> in terms of the idea of the long war, i would agree with jim.
i think we allowed the wrong narrative to emerge about afghanistan. when i think about afghanistan, i actually think korea. why do i say that? we fought to a stalemate in korea. we still never won that war. it's still an armistice. it's 70 years later and we have 28,000 american forces in south korea because we do not believe that the 500,000 men, sophisticated south korean force, can hold up that raising men to the north. -- that crazy man to the north. write narrative to a war that president bush said in his address to the congress on september 20, he said this is the war that i will not be -- that will not be one on my watch. i will pass it to my successor. when i hear that this is their longest work on my say no, her longest war was and still is
korea. and by the way, korea was not democratic for decades. we had a government in south korea that was actually a military dictatorship and we stayed. we probably didn't set -- i don't know where the narrative got set -- but we probably didn't set it correctly that there would be a military side to this and there would have to be a long per where it might be ai stalemate of trying tood tilde a country that would be stable and hopefully more democratic so that we would not experience again an attack on our soil. in other words, we would take the fight to them and it's not the first time we have taken the fight out there so we didn't have the fight at home. i think over time, that narrative is what we were trying to do in afghanistan and it -- and it deteriorated to one of we
need to get out. >> jim raise the issue of iraq. here's the narrative -- afghanistan was a war we had to fight in the nation was unified in fighting that war and then your chief executive decided to invade iraq in march, 2003 and our allies said what? and a lot of american people said what. you were there and you been thinking about things for 20 years so i have a feeling have a way of handling that narrative step how do you handle that? >> it's interesting because after being told we did not connect the dots on afghanistan, in fact, we had 9/11, we try to connect the dots on iraq. given the failures and intelligence there in the robbins with intelligent there and i don't claim our intelligence agencies. it's hard to follow the weapons
of mass destruction programs of a government. it wasn't just that saddam hussein emerged on george bush's watch. we fought a war against him in 1990, a war but also ended in an armistice. we were trying to hold him in check by what the president called a swiss cheese like sanctions that were falling up our under the un's inability to carry them out. he was shooting at our aircraft every day. i remember one of the first conversations with donald rumsfeld was let's see if he gets lucky and shoot one of our planes down, then what do we do? saddam hussein was a threat and we thought he was rebuilding his weapons of mass destruction and the question was, do you wait until he has rebuilt them or do
you do something about it now step our allies, some of our allies, the french, the germans had some of our allies including the british billions and polish were in with us on the very first attack on iraq, that first night. the president felt that the international community had not been convinced of saddam hussein working 17 different resolutions and it was time to take care of it. in retrospect, if we had known that he is not built weapons of mass destruction the levels we thought would we have done something differently? perhaps. what you know today can affect tomorrow but not yesterday. >> let me chime in on that. i left the white house late in the summer of 2002 and i heard some discussion of iraq and i
called the president and asked him about it. he asked me to fly to california had dinner with condi and she described looking at threats in the world as the new 9/11. and saddam was a unique threat not for a single reason but a confluence of them as she just explained. the media covers, he got oil down to just one thing but it was a confluence of things. after that, president bush invited me to a meeting at camp david with him and secretary rice and prime minister tony blair and his national security advisor. i remember being struck that here is george w bush, a conservative or looking leader and tony blair, a much more liberal, progressive labor leader and they saw the threat in exactly the same way. i sat at camp david and listen
to them talk about it. they talked about at the same way. >> karen, used to be every order and at the white house, you are in charge of communications>> as in one way or another been narratives. what do we say. that's what we say, -- what do we say? how do we persuade people? not withstanding, this unity that we all talked about or remembered. notwithstanding, bush was loathed the next years by the media. is that just a reassertion of
normal, american politics after the shock and horror of september 11 wears off? or is there something more dangerous, more toxic to our ability to live together as fellow americans and to pursue policy in the world to remain at uniformed -- unified enough to pursue policy? what happened? in those first weeks after 9/11, his approval rating is as this -- as high as it can be. >> i want to mention he was reelected. >> that's right. but you get the point. we had this moment of unity and then the polarization that we recognized that has become almost normal today begins to set in and even the president's
admirers are saying what has happened here. >> -- condoleeza rice: i would say that two of the toughest decisions actually paved the way for his successor to be more successful than he otherwise would have been and end on a much better basis than the travesty we seen in afghanistan. >> the second was the second and his desk and republicans were mad at him about that. it allowed him to hand off a much better situation to president obama. i think part of it is you make tough decisions that people
don't like. those decisions look different over time. people looked over on that if people look back over those decisions. i think that history will give him a better credit and you are already starting to see appreciation and the conviction that he brought. what i worry most about is the general -- is what the general said about the political will to sustain the effort. i think it's tragic that we have 100 70,000 troops around the world today. 2500 were in afghanistan. -- 170,000 troops around the world today. 2500 were in afghanistan. since president bush left
office, we have lost the political will to see the long game. i will to them this can happen again. unfortunately, we faced this ideology. in different forms and different places across the world, we have somehow got to find a way and the political will to sustain against that. condoleeza rice: harry truman's popularity rating when he left office was 30%. but i want to make a point about the long game. in his farewell address, he said we will win of the cold war. i didn't want to make a point about what we now see.
it's hard to watch what happens in afghanistan, but 20 years i did not think was possible of no attack on our soil again. if you had seen death threat reporting, you'd would never have taken that bet. i also want to say to jim mattis . we have a whole generation of young people who joined the armed forces in the wake of 9/11. i know a lot of them and some of them are in congress and some of them are business leaders and local leaders and we talk about the greatest generation as those who fought world war ii. there is a new greatest generation. they answered the call in afghanistan and iraq. some of them did not come back. some of them came back maimed. they are adding to our leadership in extraordinary ways. as bleak as it may seem on this
20th anniversary, we achieved peace for long time. i think we have a whole generation of people who fought bravely and are making us better. >> we are down to a single digit number of minutes remaining. let me ask you a final question. i'm going to go to john first. john has been uncharacteristically quiet. >> i've been trying to speak. >> i'm sorry. let me set it up this way. the first day of classes 10 days away. smu and texas -- smu, classes of been up -- have been underway. think of the freshman arriving this year. they were all born after 9/11 took place. they were born a year or two years after took place.
condoleezza rice "we must tell the story to those who were not old enough to feel the horror and sadness of that day." as compactly as we can -- as you can, freshman are busy and have so many demands on the time, but you know that what happened 20 years ago was important and you know that the way the nation responded says something about the nature of this nation. i'm going to ask each of you, what do you tell and 18 or 19-year-old, somebody who was born after it was happened -- after it happened, that they really need to grasp about 9/11? >> tell them what happened. no holds barred. so they will remember that because they won't -- so that
they will remember because they weren't born. we went to iraq several times. it took them -- tell them the stories what it was like to sleep on the floor and had to go about your day. you remind them, i was in college in 1966. that was 20 years after world war ii. there was no talking about it then. the only thing i learned, i remember my dad and i think now you have to do more of that. i'm teaching freshman on september 20, it's the same story. where is the rotc? where is the emphasis on the military? we can't forget that. it's a very important part of our culture. i don't think we do enough of
that now. it's going the other way. there were some very positive things that happened. i remember traveling around the country -- i'm a member traveling around the world. -- i remember traveling. what went wrong in afghanistan did not have to happen. we are on -- we were on the right track long ago. maybe we are doing so much around the world, many many countries. i think there should be more emphasis on the military side. economics is part of diplomacy and defense. let's not forget the economics. we probably should have spent more time on economics than afghanistan.
those are things that i would focus on. let's not lose attention to these very important parts of america. there are positive things to say and i would stress that. >> jim, what would you tell and 18 or 19-year-old that he or she would need to understand? jim mattis: put it in human terms. don't talk statistics or years. talk about human beings who were in america. talk about nearly 3000 innocent citizens of 91 countries murdered on our shore of 42,000 new york city police could not stop the airplanes from coming in and yet we could not and be honest. you think we could not have maintained four or 5000 troops there to keep that from happening again?
think about what it looks like to see not one airplane overhead and put it into human terms. remind them that 90% of the casualties of this war are ages 18 to 24 because that's their age group and make sure they know this is the first more significant war we have ever fought since the revolution were all volunteers. one example of what -- of the new greatest generation in the making. >> karen? >> i agree with everything that has been said. you have to tell them the human terms. i would also tell them story of a little girl i met in afghanistan. i visited, it was the first visit after the fall of the tele-band -- of the taliban.
the woman's counsel to link the women of the united states to afghanistan. our u.s. government was funding a program to teach little girls how to read. the girls were 11 or 12 or 13 years old. they never had an opportunity to have an education so i asked them what do they hope to do once they were educated. a little girl through a translator told me she wanted to be a writer. i was writing a book at the time and so i said to her can i say something on your behalf and my book so you can get around to writing yours? she said, immediately, women should be free to go to school to go to work and to choose their own husbands. as i was leaving come of the trans-letter came after me and grabbed me by the arm and said the little girl wants to tell you something else. please don't forget them. please help them live in freedom. that little girl follow -- the
thought of that little girl follow me home and haunted me every sense and i think that is a reminder of our responsibility. answering that call to our responsibilities. >> summing up, i happen to know you are pretty good at that sort of thing. >> i would tell them that america has always been best when it acts from both power and principle. in afghanistan, we tried to act from both power and principle after the horrible attacks that landed us there. nobody wanted to go to war in afghanistan. we knew it was a grip up -- we knew it was a place where great powers went to die. our protective oceans on both sides are -- on both sides and
neighbors did not protect us from 9/11. we were able to keep the peace by the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform who volunteered to go there and fight for us. we were able to keep the peace thanks to the 66,000 afghan soldiers who also died in that war and the countless numbers that are alive that lost people, but we kept the peace. we did want to leave afghanistan a better place. we wanted it to be a place where women could go to school and choose their own husbands. infant mortality had begun to decline. there is nothing wrong with wanting for other people the same liberties and same opportunity for a good life that we have. america has always been best when it really believes in the universality of its values.
if we aired -- if we erred in thinking that afghans wanted to be free, that is an error that i will be proud of. >> are we safer today? karen said she would want to tell students it can happen again. >> we are safer, but not safe. it could happen again. >> we need to be vigilant all the time because it's not over. >> it's not over. i agree. we've got a lot of things that make us safer, but not safe. >> it's not over. we are safer with a better organized intelligence community. however, i think we are weaker in terms of unity and domestic unity at home.
>> so the professional warrior says the professionals are in good shape, but i am concerned about the people and politicians. >> i wouldn't make it that sharp a demarcation. i think it's a more cultural, societal challenge we have to restore trust. words no longer sufficient, we need to demonstrate actions to restore trust. >> 911 20 years later. secretary jim mattis:, -- thank you. for the hoover institution, i'm peter robinson.
♪ >> this year marks the 20th anniversary of the september 11 attacks. it join us for live coverage from new york, the pentagon and shanksville, pennsylvania starting at 7 a.m. eastern saturday on c-span. watch online at c-span.org, or listen on the c-span radio app. >> next week, secretary of state antony blinken defies before congress about the u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan. he starts with the house foreign affairs committee. 2 p.m. eastern. at 10:00 a.m., he faces -- on tuesday at 10 a.m., he faces questions from the senate foreign relations committee. find us on c-span.org or listen
to the c-span radio app. >> next week, views from the house. c-span set down with house lawmakers to recount their first-hand experiences during the attack on the u.s. capitol. 14 members of congress shared stories of what they experienced that day. the series begins monday with oklahoma republican markwayne mullin and jason crow and tom molnar ski. views from the house. next week, each week -- teach -- each night at 8:00 on c-span. >> you can be a part of the national conversation bipartisan painting in the competition. asking you to create a five to six minute documentary that answers the question, how does
the federal government impact your life. -- answers the question: how does the government impact your life? you have a shot at winning the grand prize of $5,000. entries must be received for january 20, 2020 two. visit our website. >> up next, george w. bush administrations account -- recap their experiences and the only broadcast reporter allowed to remain on air force one during the attack. it's an hour 40 min.